AfriForum encourages vaccination, but warns govt against making it mandatory

The group has clarified that it is in favour of encouraging vaccinations against the virus. However, it said to force the public to do it would be unconstitutional and divisive.

Some of the ECD practitioners and Sassa officials getting vaccinated at a vaccination site in Tembisa, Gauteng. Image: Department of Social Development/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Lobby group AfriForum said while they didn't plan to fight businesses, they were prepared for a court battle should government make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a task team would be set up to investigate the possibility of mandatory immunisations.

While their findings are only expected to be announced next year, several businesses, including those listed on the JSE, have already introduced a compulsory policy.

AfriForum head of policy, Ernst Roets said although they had not received any complaints about the private sector, their members had raised concern about government's approach.

"Companies taking a stance mandating vaccinations for their employees is something that's outside the sphere of AfriForum's focus. We don't focus on labour-related issues. But when we talk about government saying that citizens of the Republic of South Africa will be forced by government, then it becomes a civil rights issue."

The group has, however, clarified that it is in favour of encouraging vaccinations against the virus.

However, Roets said to force the public to do it would be unconstitutional and divisive.

"We have people who feel it's a violation of their bodily integrity. As AfriForum, we have taken a stance to say we're encourage people to but we are concerned that a government-enforced vaccination programme is not going to get the desired result because it's going to lead to a backlash."